North winds and challenging visibility.


Yukon Field Team , Friday 1st January, 2021 4:35PM

A ski tour up Fraser Peak, North winds and poor vis. Consistent moderate north winds through the day and 2cms of new snow. There was active snow transport above 1100m. With the north winds, new wind slabs were forming. We travelled on a SE aspect and found that the windslabs became more reactive as the day went on. We saw shooting cracks in our skin track. We recognized that conditions were changing so we modified our uptrack and then triggered a size 1 windslab which propagated away from ski tips and into terrain below us. With visibility deteriorating and the direct feedback from the snowpack, we decided to head for home. A good exercise in low viz navigation and terrain management! Between 1150m and 1500m we found buried preserved surface hoar just below the surface. We didn’t find surface hoar below 1150m. The summit weather station is not giving accurate wind speeds at the moment!

Snow conditions were: Crusty, Wind affected, Powder. Weather conditions were: Cold, Stormy, Windy, Cloudy. We rode: Alpine slopes, Open trees. Riding quality was ok.

Avalache Conditions: Slab avalanches today or yesterday. Whumpfing or drum-like sounds or shooting cracks.

Source: Avalanche Canada MIN